Saturday, July 6, 2013

Where do the Red Wings stand?

Alfredsson joins his Swedish
 teamate Zetterberg in Detroit

After signing Weiss and stealing Alfredsson from the Sens, most Red Wings fans are ecstatic with the prospect of next year's team. But what do they have to do before dropping the puck?

As they stand right now, the Red Wings have 2.3M left in cap space and they have to sign pending RFAs Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith and Joakim Andersson, so they have to make space to sign everyone.

The Winged Wheel's forwards, as they stand now, they have 14 forwards signed, plus 2 pending, making for 16 forwards. Here's what it looks like :

Abdelkader - Datsyuk - Zetterberg
Franzen - Weiss - Alfredsson
Nyquist - Helm - Tatar
Tootoo - Andersson - Miller

Extra : Eaves / Bertuzzi / Emmerton
LTIR : Samuelsson

Ericsson - Kronwall
Dekeyser - Smith
Kindl - Quincey


This team is in a bind. Because of ''injuries'', Samuelsson can't be bought out; he's not going to play a lot and look for him to fill Ian White's role last year as the scapegoat who won't play unless a lot of injuries take a toll on this team. Also, look for Tootoo to get increased minutes. In the big bad East, goons like Parros, Thornton and to a lesser extent, Neil and Prust will always challenge stars and Tootoo, although he isn't a heavyweight fighter, will at least bring some energy and spunk and is willing to fight.

I do believe that the next year's Wings have a lot more going for them than last year's edition. First, the rookie will have more experience. Nyquist, Tatar, Smith and Andersson will all have bigger role entrusted in them, playing a solid 3rd line and being trusted, for Smith anyways, with bigger PP minutes. Second, next year's team will be more balanced, with Datsyuk and Zetterberg on the first line, plus Weiss, Franzen and Alfredsson completing the scoring, something Cleary (15pts in 48 games) and Filppula couldn't quite do last year. (Although, there is a rumor that Cleary is going to get re-signed.) Cleary is passed his expire date because of his knees and he is taking up a roster space that could go to a younger player, like Tatar or Nyquist. Holland has to let go of his loyalty to old players and let Cleary go to Dallas or even Anaheim.

Now, for what needs to be done.
Look for Emmerton to be sent down to Grand Rapids or waived. He was a serviceable 4th line C, but with the return of Helm, Andersson is going to be the 4th line C, plus Sheahan or Ferraro can be our first call-up.

Also, there has been a rumor of Edler being shopped and Detroit's interested. With the departure of Raymond and possibly the oft-injured Booth, Vancouver needs secondary scoring. A package of Tatar and Quincey, plus draft picks to even out, I think Edler could come to the Red Wings and it would help open up roster spots.

And here's a blockbuster that could help : Tatar / Nyquist + Quincey + 1st '14 for Zach Bogosian. He's young (22 years old) and would fit great with Kindl or even Kronwall, plus it would open up a roster spot.

I know it's clichéd, but it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings and the Red Wings are far from being done this summer.

Wings Make Waves On Day 1 of Free Agency

Hockeytown fans have woken up to a very different-feeling team.

With only a pair of moves and a pair of departures, the Red Wings have, in almost all eyes, become a much more legitimate playoff threat compared to last year.  They lost Valtteri Filppula who sought richer soil in which to plant his roots, which the under-achieving forward found in Tampa Bay.  The Wings also effectively lost Swiss forward Damien Brunner, who snubbed the Red Wings' 2 and 3-year offers, also looking for those greener pastures.  No deal has been signed for Brunner, but the writing is basically on the wall that he will land elsewhere.

What the Red Wings gained, however, far exceeded what they lost.

Detroit was targeting Florida forward Stephen Weiss from the very start as a potential replacement for Filppula should the team not be able to retain him.  Detroit sealed that deal and inked Weiss to a 5-year contract just under what Flip would have commanded.  At $24.5 Million over 5 years, the Wings get a better 2-way player and a somewhat more consistent scoring threat out of Weiss than what they had with Filppula.

The second acquisition for the Red Wings yesterday was much more of a surprise: Detroit, with promises of greater chances to win his first Stanley Cup, managed to lure away Daniel Alfredsson from the Ottawa Senators on a 1-year, bonus-laden $5.5 Million deal.  The former face of the Ottawa franchise and formerly the longest serving active NHL captain had told his former team on a call that he would not be rejoining them next season, which was as much a shock to them as it was the rest of the hockey world, but the Red Wings gladly welcome his leadership and skills into the locker room.

With RFAs left to sign and little cap space left still available, we may not see much more movement from Detroit this offseason, but what we HAVE seen has at least been very interesting and exciting to watch unfold.  Who knows? Maybe Kenny Holland has one more trick up his sleeve before next season...